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We all love to talk about what we have done right with our dogs. What I want to know is what is the biggest mistake you have made with a dog? I think that we learn as much from our mistakes as we do our success so where did you really go wrong?
I will start this with these confessions.

My first mistake was not getting the right dog for the job. Our first SAR dog was Justice. I purchased him from a backyard breeder. I did not know anywhere near as much as I do now so when the man who breed him told me that he came from SAR working lines and that he had high drive I believed him. Justice is a wonderful dog. He does have ball drive, but he is very borderline when it comes to working. He is easily distracted and no matter what technique we have used has never worked out to be the solid trailing dog we thought we would get. When he is on he is on but often he couldn't care less. If I had done my research before purchase and knew what I know now he would not have been my selection. But lession learned and he still is a wonderful dog.

My second and even bigger mistake was with my HRD dog Neko. I did everything right with her selection. She was a wonderful puppy so eager to learn, so fearless, so perfect. She was healing off leash at 4 months old....there was my mistake. Because she learned obedience so quickly, I taught it to her. So now its time to really start learning to search for the source. Command given, Neko get off my left leg. Move my leg, "get to work now" still on my left leg. She was so good at obedience that I had neglected to realise that for SAR work she needed independent thought. I had trained her to take all cues from me and not to think on her own. Crap! I set myself up for weeks of extra work teaching her that on command it was ok to work on her own. Looking back it is a mistake I will never make again.

These are only two of the many mistakes I have made that I learned from. What training mistakes have you made and what did you learn from it?
 

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Do you want little piddly mistakes or big sweeping mistakes?

My one big sweeping mistake with Kramer was the use of compulsion-me thinking that might means right. Particularly now, knowing what I know about trying to force Chow mixes-I was really, really, really (did I mention really) mistaken. How I righted that was almost accidental-and very lucky for both of us and all future dogs. After he snapped at a kid while my parents were watching him (not the first time he had done that though-and not his first aggression or other odd behavior) I took him to be evaluated and learned NILIF and that using my training in human counseling psych was actually a good thing for my dog. So I switched to those things and it made a big difference. I still regret what I did though-not saying I am able to do purely positive with the others because I don't-but it sure is a relation based theory now.

I make mistakes every day when I only think like a human and not like a dog. You know when you learn a second language and are suprised when you think of por favor first? That's what it's like when I am "on" but I think it's harder to be consistent in thinking dog in a dog pack because they are so varied and give us a lot to keep up with!

What I *try* to limit myself with in regards to mistakes is that I don't put my dogs, other dogs, or other people in danger because of them. And that requires a lot of thinking and close attention-that I believe is increased exponentially by each dog that you have, and factors of their temperament and training, and our attentiveness can either increase or decrease the risk of our mistakes. So it's very mathematical to me!

Mistake with Ilsa alone with only me present after a training session-very low risk mistake.
Mistake with Ilsa in a crowded area, with me distracted by another of my dogs, with other dogs present, without a training session prior to leaving-much higher risk mistake.

Obviously I have done both. What I have learned is not to repeat that second situation with her. Of course variations of that scenario will occur-but I will be much more aware of the potential results.
 

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LOL Nope not the only one.

I made mistakes with Achielles and Axel in not allowing much dog/dog socialization as puppies. Neither boy can safely play with other dogs now. I was very much of the mindset of working with me only and seeing me as the only fun thing. Both dogs are/were (Achielles has since passed awaay) able to be around other dogs in training and trial situations but are not pleased if a dog gets in their face. Great obedience is how I worked around it.

Axel is also crate aggressive to an extent. Does not like other dog or even some people coming near his crate. Again, should have fixed/worked on that as a puppy.

I also didn't teach Achielles to play and have since learned playing with toys is important and with Axel I taught him a little later, but he doesn't have the drive for toys some others in the club do.

I didn't socialize a lot early in life and Achielles had a hard time in new situations sometimes. Axel is better, but not great.

I didn't imprint attention with Axel (Achielles came by it naturally and I just didn't think to do it with Axel). So I struggle with this attention and drive in training.

I am trying to make sure I don't make the same mistakes with Moxie. She is learning to play with other dogs. She is becoming a toy monster lol even after only a week! I am socializing the heck out of her and for the first time, I am going to be taking her to a puppy k class. I had never taken my own dogs to someone elses puppy class before. I realize now that teaching the class and trying to train my own puppy in it is just too difficult to give my own dog the attention it needs. So extra socializing and training for this cutie pie
I am also doing more attention and placement work with Moxie than I did with the boys. I did this with the BC, Breaca and see the difference it can make. I also am working on this with the Sheltie Jinx.

Another mistake I made with the boys is not teaching "quiet" time in the house. Able to just be and hang out with us type of stuff. Again, doing things different with this puppy


Thankfully, I have been training long enough that I have not used their name's as corrections. It is very common though and I find myself telling my students that one all of the time lol.

I like minor mistakes lol I can learn from them. Everything about training your particular (you in general) dog/puppy is trial and error though. Dog training is a science, but also an art.
 

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Thank goodness someone else posted!


The name in corrections thing has evolved as dogs have been added. When I got Annalise (her story is in the rescue stories section with links to old threads), it really kicked in. I never wanted to make her think she was getting a correction-verbal-so I would say EH-dog's name. Since they interact and play in a group a lot, if one dog is doing something and the others are not, if I just say EH! there is some "who me?" happening. They are all thinking they are getting corrected. But poor little Annie's head snaps up like "OMG! I WAS BAD!"

Individually, we're good. I need a new system for the group that gets the ones who will ignore me, but that doesn't penalize the sensitive girl.

Note-the dogs I do not have a problem with are the 2 PB GSDs and Anna. The rest...
 

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I don't know - I know you're not SUPPOSED to use their names in corrections and the names are always supposed to be happy and wonderful, but I just don't see how you avoid it when you've got a bunch of dogs all hanging around together. How else do you designate who you're talking about?

I guess you could teach each one a different special "bad dog" name.

I haven't observed any terrible effects from using their names in corrections, the correct dog looks up and goes "oops!" and the other dogs look at them like "Nyah nyah!" And of course I use their names to give commands and offer praise as well.

I'd have to think about my worst training mistake - I'm sure there have been quite a few. I know my husband would say the worst one was teaching Grace to bark for a refind and be rewarded with her toy. Ever since then if she can find a tennis ball, she dumps it in your lap and barks until you throw it. She regards any time people are sitting around in the living room to be an excellent opportunity for this game.
 

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Since Ris is my first dog and a 'work-in-progress' dog, I've made a lot of mistakes with her!! Many of which I am ashamed of. . .but I changed my methods after I realized I wasn't doing either of us any good.

First major error, correction-based training. All the information I got about dog training growing up was based in adversives. Once the dog knew the behavior and refused to do it, you'd correct them. I can distinctly remember coming inside with Risa one night and asking her to sit. She didn't so I gave her a correction. She still didn't sit so I gave another. . .until she completely shut down. I also learned that yelling at her would shut her down too. It's not a pretty sight and it really makes you rethink what you're doing. Fortunately, we got into clicker training and life has been better for both of us. She wouldn't be where she is today had we stuck with the other type of training.

Second major error was not taking her feelings and thoughts into account and getting her out of situations before she became too overwhelmed. I knew when I got her I needed to socialize her. But, unfortunately, I didn't realize how slowly I needed to take it. Needless to say, she doesn't like going to Petsmart anymore. It was too much too fast and I didn't get her out of there when it became too much for her. There were also many times where I let people approach her and try and pet her when I should have told them to back off. Even one time where she was essentially backed into a corner as kids petted her (this was on like the second day I had her). I am SOOOOO glad she didn't feel trapped and so scared that she decided to bite. I also wasn't proactive enough to tell people to keep their dogs out of her space which I think compounded her leash-reactivity.

Overall, Ris has taught me to not get frustrated so quickly and to work with her as a TEAM. I've also gotten to the point where, no matter what she's doing, I should be positive. Even if it's embarassing or annoying. Getting angry with her doesn't help things. Just keep my cool and ASK her to comply with my request. Getting riled up myself just makes her more unsure.
 
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